Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Toby Keith Hosting Oklahoma Benefit Next Month


Toby Keith will be hosting his fundraiser for his hometown next month, and he's found a few friends to help him out.  Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and Ronnie Dunn will be joining Toby for his Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert, and the lineup is expected to grow.  The event is set for the Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.  Tickets cost 25 dollars, and go on sale on June 21st.  Money raised through the show is going to The United Way Of Central Oklahoma May Tornado Relief Fund.


Keith, Dunn, and Brooks all have Oklahoma roots.  Toby was born and raised in Moore, which was ravaged by a massive tornado last month.  Brooks is also an Oklahoma native, while Dunn launched his music career in Tulsa.  Earlier this month Dunn told "Tulsa World" he was just waiting for the word from Toby, and he'd be there.  Brooks says in a statement that he also reached out to Toby, telling him he and wife Trisha Yearwood were "at his service for whatever he chose to do."  He adds that he's "amazed at the human spirit the tornado victims have shown" and "humbled by the giving of the volunteers."  He calls it "an honor to get to be a part of this healing process."


Report: Billy Ray Cyrus' Wife Tish Files For Divorce


Billy Ray Cyrus and his wife, Tish, are reportedly splitting up.  TMZ says Tish has filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences."  The couple has been married for 19 years and shares five children, one of whom, Noah, is still a minor.  Tish has asked for full custody of him.  Billy Ray filed for divorce himself three years ago, but dropped the case hoping to work things out.  The site notes that the date of separation on the forms they obtained is listed "TBD."


TMZ also has reported some Twitter activity from the couple's most famous daughter.  Miley apparently contacted her father through the site on Thursday when the news broke, writing "since your text and email obviously aren't working would you like to talk like this?"  The tweet was later removed from her page. 


Lady Antebellum Taking Maternity Break Following Taste Of Country Festival


Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott is getting ready to take her maternity leave.  This weekend the country trio will wrap up their concert commitments leading up to the birth of Hillary's baby.  The singer is pregnant with her first child, which is due next month.  Lady A will perform in North Lawrence, Ohio, tonight, and then provide the finale for the Taste Of Country Music Festival in Hunter, New York on Saturday.  The group will cap off a day of music that will also feature Billy Currington, Hunter Hayes, Joe Nichols, Gloriana, and others.  Willie Nelson & Family helped launch the inaugural three-day event on Thursday.  Trace Adkins leads Friday's lineup, which also includes Montgomery Gentry, Justin Moore, Craig Campbell and others.


Little Big Town, Trisha Yearwood Up For Daytime Emmy Awards


Little Big Town and Trisha Yearwood could earn new recognition for their work.  The country stars are among the nominees for the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards.  Little Big Town is in the running for Outstanding Original Song with "Good Afternoon," the theme to ABC's "Good Afternoon America."  Little Big Town wrote the song with The Warren Brothers, and are also the performer.  There's only one other nominee in the category -- "This Day," Sheryl Crow's theme for Katie Couric's ABC talk show, "Katie."


But Yearwood's nomination isn't music-related.  She has a nod for her Food Network series "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," which is one of five shows vying for Outstanding Culinary Program.  Yearwood's competition includes three other Food Network shows -- "Best Thing I Ever Made," "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction," and "Giada at Home" -- and the syndicated series "Recipe Rehab."  The 40th Annual Daytime Emmys will be presented in a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, and air live on HLN on Sunday.


Kenny Chesney Reaches One-Million Mark In Concert Ticket Sales


Kenny Chesney's done it again.  His "No Shoes Nation" trek has become his tenth consecutive tour to surpass the one-million mark in ticket sales.  But this year he reached the milestone sooner than he had in the past.  Following last weekend's tally, Chesney's total ticket sales count was one-million-89-thousand -- and tickets for upcoming shows continue to sell.  The country superstar admits he's moved by his fans' dedication.  He says he's "always humbled" when concertgoers tell him they make their summer plans around his shows, because he can remember being "that kind of fan."  Chesney explains that he strives to deliver the best show possible each time he hits the stage, and adds that it might be why he's "hit that million ticket mark so early this year."  Kenny's next show is coming up at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday.  Eric Church, the Eli Young Band, and Kacey Musgraves are on board as openers.


Darius Rucker Glad To Be Able To Give Back


Darius Rucker continues to do what he can to help others.  Last week the singer joined a team from Transitions Optical in providing free exams and glasses to children in need in the Nashville area.  Rucker says he knows their efforts really made a difference.


Last week Rucker also hosted his annual "Darius And Friends" benefit event, and raised more than 95-thousand-dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, Dustin Lynch, and Radney Foster were among the stars who performed at the June 3rd concert.  The following morning Moore and Lynch also joined Darius for his celebrity golf tournament.  Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, David Nail and Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley are some of the other stars who hit the links to support Rucker's fundraising effort.


Kip Moore Hoping To Learn From Being Toby Keith's Opener


Kip Moore is describing himself as "a sponge."  The country singer says he intends to give himself an education as Toby Keith's opener, and absorb as much as he can from the headliner.


Moore is warming up the crowd on Keith's "Hammer Down Tour," which will be making a stop in Cincinnati, Ohio on tonight.  They'll be performing in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania on Saturday, and wrapping up the weekend in Clarkston, Michigan on Sunday.  Moore, who was recently included on "Elle" magazine's list of "The Top Ten Up-And-Coming Country Stars To Watch," is promoting his most recent single, "Hey Pretty Girl."


Mumford & Sons Cancel More Shows, Bassist Out Of Hospital


Mumford & Sons fans are getting a little bad news with the good.  The British folk rockers announced Thursday that bassist Ted Dwane has been discharged from the hospital after undergoing surgery earlier this week to remove a blood clot on his brain.  But while they say he is "on the road to a full recovery," they've made the "sad" decision to cancel their headlining slot at Bonnaroo.  The Mumfords were scheduled to take the stage at the Manchester, Tennessee festival on Saturday.  They've also axed upcoming gigs in Bonner Springs, Kansas and Telluride, Colorado.  The group says they trust fans can respect their "collective desire to encourage Ted to make a full recovery," adding that the reluctant cancelations are based purely on medical advice they've received.


Taylor Swift Honored At Fragrance Foundation Awards


Taylor Swift is being honored for her top-selling perfume line.  The country-pop superstar was in New York City on Wednesday for the Fragrance Foundation Awards -- known as the Oscars of the perfume industry.  She was there to pick up the Fragrance Celebrity of the Year award for her scents -- Wonderstruck, Wonderstruck Enchanted, and her latest offering, Taylor by Taylor Swift.  The award "honors a celebrity who has uplifted the world of fragrance."


Gary Allan Surprises Co-Writer By Making "Pieces" A Single


Gary Allan admits he's "just stoked" that his latest single, "Pieces," is doing so well.  The country star says the song's success -- and the simple fact that he'd released it -- was a surprise to his co-writer Sarah Buxton, whom Gary credits for the original idea.


Allan adds that "Pieces" is a unique track for him, because it's the first song he's written with a woman.  Gary says he has no objections to teaming up with female songwriters, it just hadn't ever happened before.  But he admits that makes the song "special" to him.  "Pieces" is the second single from Allan's most recent album, "Set Your Free."


Quick Bites


Brad Paisley will be taking a slight detour from his "Beat This Summer" tour to perform at another concert.  The country star has been tapped to join the Rolling Stones for the legendary rockers' show in Philadelphia on June 18th.  Brad is the latest in a growing list of country stars who have made guest appearances during the Stones' "50 and Counting" trek.  Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban have also played with the Stones over the course of their tour.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1961, Patsy Cline suffered serious head injuries and a fractured hip in a car accident in Madison, Tennessee.


Today in 1977, the "Ol' Waylon" album by Waylon Jennings was certified Gold.


Today in 1980, Alabama's first hit, "My Home's In Alabama," made its chart debut.


Today in 1983, John Anderson's single "Swingin'" was certified Gold.


Today in 1994, the "Greatest Hits" album by John Anderson was certified Gold.


Today in 1996, Toby Keith hit number one with "Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You."


Today in 1996, Jeff Foxworthy's album "You Might Be A Redneck If?" was certified triple Platinum.


Today in 2001, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Today in 2003, Josh Turner tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer, in northern Georgia.


Today in 2003, Trace Adkins was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2005, it was Erika Jo Day in the "Nashville Star" winner's hometown of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, in celebration of the release of her self-titled debut disc.  Dwight Yoakam's album "Blame the Vain" and the compilation disc "Patriotic Country 2" were among the other new CDs arriving in stores.


Today in 2005, Keni Thomas took part in the 230th birthday celebration for the U.S. Army with a morning performance at Times Square in New York.  He also took part in the dedication of the Freedom Circle on Staten Island later in the day and that evening rang the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.


Today in 2005, Keith Anderson was named as one of "People" magazine's annual "50 Hottest Bachelors."  Anderson performed on NBC's "The Today Show" as part of the list's unveiling.


Today in 2005, Toby Keith's album "Boomtown" was certified Platinum.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride and Sara Evans performed at the taping of the ''JCPenney Jam: The Concert for America's Kids'' hosted by Dr Phil and Robin McGraw. The Los Angeles concert, which aired on TV two months later, helped raise awareness of the need for access to quality after school programs as well as provide funding for additional programs.


Today in 2006, Dierks Bentley threw out the first pitch at an Arizona Diamondbacks game in his hometown of Phoenix.  The team's starting pitcher, Brandon Webb, presented the singer with an authentic jersey with "Bentley 1" on the back to signify his recent number one hit, "Settle for a Slowdown."


Today in 2006, Josh Gracin performed at a USO event celebrating the Army's 231 years of service at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.


Today in 2006, Lee Ann Womack joined rappers Master P and Lil' Romeo at a concert for U.S. troops in Vincenza, Italy.


Today in 2006, Willie Nelson made a telephone appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live."  He called the program to show his support to actress Daryl Hannah, who was among the demonstrators who had been arrested earlier in the week when she refused to leave a tree in protest of the proposed destruction of an urban Los Angeles farm.  Nelson equated the demonstrators' efforts to the work he does through Farm Aid.


Today in 2008, Sara Evans married radio personality Jay Barker in a ceremony at a farm in Franklin, Tennessee.  Evans and Barker's children from their previous marriages took part in the ceremony.  The singer's eight-year-old son walked her down aisle, while her two daughters and Barker's four kids served as the couple's only wedding attendants.


Today in 2008, George Jones was reunited with his 1956 Martin 000-18 acoustic guitar after a 46-year separation.  In 1962, the guitar was stolen while Jones performed at Panther Hall in Ft. Worth, Texas.  A man then purchased the guitar for ten-dollars from the kids who stole it.  He had recently contacted George and told the singer he wanted to return it to him.  Jones got his guitar during a show in Bossier City, Louisiana, but he had to reimburse the man the ten-dollars he originally paid for the instrument.


Today in 2008, Garth Brooks was a last-minute substitute performer at the The Starkey Hearing Foundation's annual fundraiser "So The World May Hear" Awards.


Today in 2008, Crystal Gayle performed at the Red Skelton Gala at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center in the late comedian's hometown of Vincennes, Indiana.  Money raised went toward the completion of the Red Skelton Museum and Education Center.


Today in 2009, Little Big Town hosted their third annual Ride For A Cure motorcycle ride fundraiser supporting the T.J. Martell Foundation.  Martina McBride, Jamey Johnson, Jason Michael Carroll, and Jamie O'Neal were among the country stars who participated in the event.


Today in 2009, Kenny Chesney was the headliner for the Nightly Concert at LP Field during the CMA Music Festival.  Other performers included Montgomery Gentry, Taylor Swift, John Rich, Jack Ingram, and Miranda Lambert.  Earlier in the day Lambert also hosted her "Ran Fans Rendezvous 2009" fan club party at the Nashville Palace.


Today in 2010, Joe Nichols celebrated the chart-topping success of "Gimmie That Girl" with two parties in Nashville.


Today in 2011, Alabama hosted their "Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery" concert in Birmingham.  Brad Paisley, Sara Evans, Martina McBride, and Montgomery Gentry were among the many artists who took part in the all-star charity event.


Today in 2011, Taylor Swift and Carrie were among the stars on "Forbes" magazine's list of "The Best-Paid Celebrities Under 30."


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